Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?

Lazy eye, known medically as amblyopia, can be treated for patients of all ages, including adults.

Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults? in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

Treating a Lazy Eye in Adulthood

There is a common misconception that a lazy eye can only be treated during the critical time period of a child’s development, but this has been researched and proven to be incorrect. There is very effective treatment for people of all ages, including adults. Generally speaking, it is recommended to pursue treatment as early as possible because often the younger the patient is, the more effective the treatment can be for a lazy eye. However, amblyopia can often go undetected through adulthood because it can be hard for a person to notice that they are functioning with clear vision only being obtained through one eye while the other is being suppressed. Additionally, many cases of a lazy eye have no connection to being cross-eyed, making it difficult to notice any signs of amblyopia. 

The good news is that treatment is very effective in adulthood. It’s important to be patient as it can take longer to see the results than it would in a younger person. A crucial element of many treatment methods, including vision therapy, is compliance and usually an adult patient is more compliant than a child. The older patients are determined to see results and typically have not been persuaded by a parent or teacher to pursue treatment, but have come on their own volition as they understand why treatment is important. Adults do have some advantages over a child when pursuing treatment for amblyopia.

What is a Lazy Eye?

Lazy eye is a condition, referred to medically as amblyopia, which occurs when there is a lack of coordination between both eyes causing one eye not to see well, even with an optical correction. In such a case, each eye is receiving its own image that does not align with the other and in order to cope with this, the brain shuts off and suppresses the image of the eye referred to as a lazy eye. The brain solely relies on the second eye, which is the only eye that is able to achieve 20/20 vision. 

There are various causes of amblyopia including a high prescription of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism either in both eyes or when one eye has a higher prescription than the other. The most noticeable cause of a lazy eye is when one eye wanders outwards or inwards, but not all types of amblyopia are easy to detect without an eye exam. It is important to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with an optometrist who will be able to diagnose and treat the condition.

What is a Lazy Eye?


Having a lazy eye can make various visual functions difficult and can cause a variety of symptoms. These challenges can go unnoticed as amblyopia is often very hard to identify without an eye exam because the brain has learned to adapt to working with just one eye. If there are symptoms and signs, they may include:

  • Blurry vision, even with an optical correction
  • Difficulty reading
  • Poor depth perception
  • Headaches and/ or eye strain
  • Prone to accidents
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Difficulty following an object only with your eyes and not moving your head

Whether or not you experience these symptoms, if you have suspicions of having a lazy eye, please don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam at American Family Vision Clinic. Dr. Levi Zurcher will be able to thoroughly check your visual system and diagnose any relevant condition.


Treatment Methods for Adults with Amblyopia

At American Family Vision Clinic, each vision therapy treatment plan is customized for the patient’s individual needs and visual skills. Vision therapy strengthens how the brain works together with the eyes to optimize the entire visual system. There are different methods for treating a lazy eye and based on each case it will be determined if the patient would benefit from one or a combination of the following:

  • Vision therapy
  • Prescription glasses
  • Eye patching
  • Virtual Reality 
  • Eye Drops

Common Questions

The brain has an incredible feature known as plasticity which means it can always adapt and be trained to strengthen/ perform new functions. This applies greatly to the treatment of amblyopia in which the brain and the visual pathways can be trained to work together properly as a team without suppressing the lazy eye. Plasticity is not limited to childhood and it applies in adulthood as well, yielding effective results for patients who are both younger and older.
Unfortunately there is a common misconception, even amongst the scientific and medical community, that a lazy eye can only be treated up until around age eight. It is tragic for people who are older than eight years old to be withheld from having access to effective treatment due to this misconception that has been researched and proven to be incorrect. Treatment may take longer in an adult compared to a child, but adults can still benefit greatly from successful results. Adults have the advantage of generally being more compliant and determined to participate in the treatment plan as an older patient usually has a greater understanding of what is trying to be accomplished. Please allow yourself the opportunity to achieve optimal vision, no matter how old you are. We welcome you to schedule a consultation at our office.
Can Lazy Eye be Treated for Adults?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon


Treatment for amblyopia is available for all ages, children and adults alike. Please call (360) 491-2121 to schedule a consultation and eye exam at our office. Dr. Levi Zurcher and staff have extensive experience helping improve vision for patients of all ages who have a lazy eye. Patients with functional vision issues visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of functional vision services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

Amy Fagerness
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